Planning for success: Texas Longhorns
September, 5, 2013
By Max Olson | ESPN.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Maybe Texas players just love wearing those clean all-white uniforms.
Why the Longhorns have been so good on the road in recent years can be explained by a variety of reasons. Most of them are valid.
Texas is 52-15 in the past decade when playing away from Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Its veteran players can’t quite put their finger on exactly why that is.
“Well, it’s their crowd and not our crowd,” Texas quarterback David Ash said. “It’s a different place. I don’t know. It’s a lot of different things. It’s not your locker room. It’s not familiar territory. There is a little bit different feel.”
Senior offensive lineman Mason Walters said the pressure to perform isn’t any worse on the road than at home, even with a hostile crowd roaring in the background.
“I don’t know the formula,” he said. “The coaches just do a good job with it. We’ll look to continue the trend. I think going in every week with the same preparation I’ve put in since I got here is probably going to help if history repeats itself.”
When talking about Texas’ recent history of taking to the road, 52-15 is not even the impressive statistic.
The Longhorns have won 13 straight regular-season nonconference road games. They haven’t taken an early-season loss on the road since 2000, a 27-24 loss at Stanford.
With that kind of history on his side, Mack Brown has every right to feel confident heading into Texas’ big road test Saturday night against BYU in Provo, Utah (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2).
What makes this matchup an intriguing challenge is the fact BYU’s season opener might not have revealed much about the team that will take the field against UT this weekend.
There’s no ignoring the rain factor when assessing BYU’s 19-17 road loss to Virginia. Not only did weather cause a two-hour delay in the first half, but the downpour BYU and UVA played in after produced a mess of a game.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill completed 13 of 40 passes. The Cougars fumbled a snap for a safety and had a punt blocked. They proved they have a run game, but that’s one of the few conclusions Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz could take away from the game.
“You can see who they are and what they were trying to accomplish, but you cannot evaluate their level of execution,” Diaz said. “Because really, after the first quarter, the whole game was played on, like, a Slip ‘N Slide.”
Texas, meanwhile, will try to get off to a better start and avoid its own slip-ups after being held scoreless for the first 28 minutes against New Mexico State last weekend. A BYU defense led by senior linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Spencer Hadley should provide as tough a defensive test as any Texas has faced in its 13-game road nonconference streak.
But if that recent history holds up, the Longhorns still might have the advantage in the end -- even if that isn’t home field advantage.